Espina: Beauty, grace and charm

·3 min read

There have been so many issues about the Miss Universe pageant. This happens every pageant. It is really difficult to judge how beautiful a woman is despite the criteria set for selection.

On YouTube, I came across a list citing a few beautiful women in the local movielandia. The list had Amalia Fuentes, Gloria Romero, Hilda Koronel and Marianne dela Riva. I could add early actresses like Paraluman, Delia Razon, and then, Dina Bonnevie, Pilar Pilapil, Alice Dixson, Iza Calzado, Ruffa Gutierrez, Dawn Zulueta, Marian Rivera, Carla Abellana, Bea Alonzo, Heart Evangelista, Jennylyn Mercado, and more recently, Liza Soberano, Megan Young, Shaira Diaz, Bianca Umali, Max Collins, Rhian Ramos etc. Their beautiful faces are least enhanced by technology. A fashionista once commented that “most of our pretty actresses now are “daughters of technology. They really look alike.”

Cebu has its share of lovely women. Decades ago, the Zonta Club of Cebu 1 had a show directed by Benjie Diola, called “Glamour and Glitz 1,” which featured pretty Cebuanas: Angelina, Amparito and Margie Lhuillier, Petite Garcia, Aida Uy, Filomena Sy, Chinggay Utzurrum (I can’t recall the rest).

In my Personality Development classes during the late ‘90s, students chose from a given list a few “Lovely Women of Cebu.” The survey excluded beauty pageant winners. The following were in the top choices: Nelia Neri, Aida Uy, Petite Garcia, Amparito Lhuillier, Annabel Rama, Pilar Pilapil (the rest I couldn’t remember). Added to this list: Donna Cruz-Larrazabal, Marilou Cañizares, Pilar Puno, Nora Muntuerto, Carla Larrazabal del Prado, Marget Villarica, Elsa Basubas, Alice Woolbright and Janice Minor.

I am sure our readers have their other choices. There are a lot more pretty faces, unnoticed like the flower Rhodora, whose beauty according to poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, gave “life to a secluded place.”

One limitation of the survey is that the women mentioned had more social and media exposure than the others. Respondents were frequent Facebook users and newspaper readers, TV viewers, media, event producers, Masscom students and faculty.

What really is a beautiful woman? It’s her totality, inside and out. Real beauty exudes charm, an inner glow and lasting impact.

My most beautiful woman is my sister, Lydia Castillo, a lovely face with captivating charm. She was always neat and poised (this reminds me of my friend, Nelia Neri). At her mid-80s, my dearest Ate Lydia is still as beautiful as her inspiring character. I also like the face of Aida Uy, a natural beauty sans makeup.

For me, the most beautiful Miss Universe was Armi Kuusela. No one in Hollywood has ever been more beautiful than Elizabeth Taylor and Rosanna Podesta. What about the classic beauty of Ingrid Bergman and Grace Kelly?

My Social Graces students mentioned how graciousness adds to one’s charm. I can think of Elvira Luym, Honey Loop, Mayen Tan, Teresin Mendezona, Tess Chan, Stella Bernabe, Mean Alcordo, Monette Alino, University of San Jose-Recoletos’ Dr. Corazon Tan and Dr. Leticia Lerin, Nimfa Alo and Beverly Dayanan, to name a few.

What about you, dear readers? Who are your choices?